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Writers' Trust of Canada announces new mentorship program for emerging Canadian writers

The five-month program involves being paired with an established Canadian writer to work on a manuscript. Michael Christie, Liz Howard and Ayelet Tsabari are the participating mentors.
Michael Christie, Liz Howard and Ayelet Tsabari are the mentors for the new Writers' Trust of Canada program. (Submitted by the Writers' Trust of Canada)

The Writers' Trust of Canada has announced a new mentorship program.

Three emerging writers will be selected for the five-month program, which involves being paired with an established Canadian writer. The selected participants will also receive $2,500.

The participants will be selected by the mentors.

The participating mentors for 2019-2020 program are Michael Christie, Ayelet Tsabari and Liz Howard.

Christie will mentor a fiction writer. He is the author of the short story collection The Beggar's Garden and the novels If I Fall, If I Die and Greenwood. Greenwood was recently on the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist.

Tsabari will mentor a nonfiction writer. She is the author of the memoir The Art of Leaving and the short story collection The Best Place on Earth. The Art of Leaving is currently a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction. She was also shortlisted for the CBC Short Story Prize in 2018 for her story Green.

Howard will mentor a poet. Her debut poetry collection, Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent, won the 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize. The collection was also nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry. Her poetry has appeared in publications such as The Capilano Review, The Puritan and Matrix Magazine.

The program emerged out of a desire in the Canadian literary community for more mentorship opportunities.

"We conducted a survey a couple of years ago in the course of strategic planning, and the results suggested that early stage writers need help getting out of the gate," the Writers' Trust executive director Mary Osborne said to CBC Books via email. "We saw a strong desire for more initiatives to help emerging writers to move forward with their work and in their careers."

Applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents under the age of 35 and have never published a full-length manuscript. 

Applications are being accepted until Dec. 2, 2019.

The program is being funded by the RBC Emerging Artists Project.

"We're hoping to see a diverse pool of writers from all across the country," said Osborne. "We are looking for committed writers who show literary promise — and who are far enough along on their project that they're likely to come out of the mentorship with a manuscript that's ready to be submitted to publishers."

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